Dr. Erica Tobe began her career with Michigan State University (MSU) Extension as a children, youth and families agent in Branch County before becoming a 4-H agent in Washtenaw County and later, a program leader for MSU Extension’s youth and adult financial literacy initiatives. Most recently, she was a specialist with the financial and homeownership education team.
Tobe has a joint appointment between MSU Extension and MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS). Since 2011, Tobe has taught various personal finance courses including HDFS 138: Introduction to financial literacy, HDFS 238: Personal finance and HDFS 438: Applied resource management practicum. Tobe co-coordinates collegiate financial literacy initiatives, including a partnership with MSU Federal Credit Union to support Go for the Green collegiate financial literacy initiatives. From 2016 to 2018, Tobe also served as the graduate program director for HDFS.
In July 2020, Tobe became director of MSU Extension’s Children and Youth Institute (CYI) after having served as associate director since May 2019. In these roles, she provided leadership to more than 200 staff across the state who work collectively to prepare Michigan’s children and youth for the future. She served as director until May 2022.
Tobe resumed her role in 2022 as extension specialist of the financial and homeownership education team with MSU Extension. In this role, Tobe provides program leadership including serving as the team grant principal investigator and providing primary oversight in research initiatives and curriculum development.
Follow Erica on Twitter @etobe33.
- BS in Family Resource Management, Michigan State University, 1998
- MSW in Clinical Social Work, Michigan State University, 2003
- PhD in Human Development and Family Studies, Michigan State University, 2014
- Kelter, A, Shirely, K., Janney, C., & Tobe, E. (2022). Rural Community Engagement for Mental Health. Collaborations: A Journal of Community-Based Research and Practice. 5(1), 1-11. doi:10.33596/coll.97
- Tobe, E., Eschbach, C., Weber, R., Ortquist, J., & Hendrian, B. (2021). Behavior change for low-income households resulting from university extension’s financial capability program. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning. 32(2): 231-241. doi:10.1891/JFCP-19-00020
- Janney, C., Tobe, E., Matteson, S., & Long, B. (2021). Social Service Provider's perspective of financial education for adults with mental illness and/or cognitive impairments. Journal of Consumer Affairs. 55:524-541. doi:10.1111/jcoa.12352
- Johnson, C., Bartholomae, S., Serido, J., Katras, M., & Tobe, E. (2019). Launching a text message intervention to assist student loan borrowers with repayment decisions. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal. 48 (3), 230-244. doi:10.1111/fcsr.12349
- Eschbach, C., Weber, R., Tobe, E., Hale, L., & Washington, V. (2016). “Evaluating an outcomes-based standardized homeownership education program.” Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal. 45(2), 138-149. doi: 10.1111/fcsr.12189
- Tobe, E., Ames, B.D., & Carolan, M. (2016). “Looking back: The experiences of four midwest families after receiving foreclosure counseling services.” Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 37(3), 383-394 doi: 10.1007/s10834-016-9495-2
- Tobe, E., Ames, B.D., Carolan, M., & Onaga, E. (2016). Surviving the recession: implications for practitioners to better support housing counseling clientele. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension. 4(3), 45-60. doi:10.54718/UCL2751
- Tobe, E. & Carter, S. (2016). “Starting over financially after foreclosure: Using key marketing messages to reach clientele.” Forum for Family and Consumer Issues. 20, 2. Retrieved online: https://ncsu.edu/ffci/publications/2016/v21-n2-2016-summer-fall/tobe-carter.php
- Tobe, E. (2016). “Research briefs: Fostering effective savings behaviors.” The Standard, 34, 2, 3.
- Wallace Bechard, C., Tobe, E., Guinot Talbot, A., & Ames, B. D. (2016). Family experiences and educational needs of home foreclosure clients. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 45(2), 179-192. doi: 10.1111/fcsr.12192
- Guinot Talbot, A., Tobe, E, & Ames, B. D. (2015). The experience of un-or underemployment and home foreclosure for mature adults: A phenomenological approach. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 36, 4, 503-513. doi: 10.10007/s10834-014-9421-4
- Tobe, E. (2014). The financial health and level of resilience in housing counseling clientele post experience: A mixed methods assessment. Order No. 3618505, Michigan State University, 2014. Ann Arbor: ProQuest.
Best Paper in Personal Finance Award, Family and Consumer Science Research Journal, 2020
- Best Poster, Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Educators, 2018
- Mary O’Neill Mini-Grant Award Recipient for the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Educators, 2017
- Best Paper in Housing, Family and Consumer Science Research Journal, 2016
- National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences, Social Networking Team Award, First Place, 2016
- Mary O’Neill Mini-Grant Award Recipient for the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Educators Association, 2015
- Michigan State University Extension Team Institute Award for Financial and Homeownership Education Team, 2015
- National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences, Marketing Package Award Recipient, 2014
- National Leadership Team Member, USDA NIFA, point of contact - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Parent Education Initiative), 2014 - 2018
- Knorr/Mentzer/Byers Fellowship Award Recipient, 2013
- Epsilon Sigma Phi Michigan Chapter, ESP Team Award Recipient, 2012
- Michigan Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, NEAFCS Program Excellence through Research Award, MEAFCS Joan Rajkovich McGarry Applied Research Award, 2012
- Michigan Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Communication Award Internet Education Technology, 2012
- National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Internet Education Technology, Third Place, Central Region Winner, 2012
- National Leadership Team Member, USDA Cooperative Research Education and Extension Service, representing youth financial literacy, 2002 – Present
- National Extension Liaison to the Credit Union Movement, 2002 – 2008
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